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The Testing of the Heart

"The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts." -Prov. 17:3 I have often said, even from the pulpit, that it is crises that shape the heart of a person, but I'm beginning to think differently about that. Rather, crises demonstrate the heart of a person. The heart is prepared in everyday life as we commune with Jesus. The trials and tests merely show openly what happens in the secret places of a person's heart. This refining, testing …

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Our Horizons Are Set

"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." -Romans 8:29 I have always found it best, when I leave something out of a message that I had planned to share, to leave it alone rather than to sneak it in later in the message. Sunday, I left out just such a detail, but when I explained it to my wife later, she confirmed the wisdom of leaving it alone by letting me know just how confusing …

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Leading and Feeding

Tonight I had the privilege of hearing a recording of Dr. Warren Wiersbe delivering the commencement message at Dallas Theological Seminary. He read a verse that has spoken to my heart many times, Psalm 78:72, "So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands." I have been given a very precious and wonderful privilege - I get to serve as Pastor to one of the Lord's great churches! They have shown me appreciation in far …

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Hearing the Word of God

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." -Romans 10:17 What do you think of preaching? For some, the word "boring" instantly popped into your mind. You'd rather be watching grass grow. Ask yourself, why did the Puritans sit in church services for three to four hours hearing a twenty-seven point message and demand more when it was over? I'll tell you my opinion - they didn't have TV! Today, we have our choice of entertainment from an array of …

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The Great Unveiling

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;..." -Revelation 1:1aThis simple title to the most profound book in Scripture contains within it a wonderful hope. John begins the final book of the Bible with this phrase... "the revelation of Jesus Christ." Many are afraid of the teachings of this final chapter of Scripture. Others are merely curious. John's intention was to present to us his vision of …

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Excellence

Let all things be done decently and in order." -1 Corinthians 14:40The spirit of mediocrity smothers and suffocates us. Perfectionism is an equally deadly extreme, but settling for second is not an option. We seem to live in a world of "good enough." As long as it's good enough to get by, it's okay with us.In the movie Remember the Titans, the T. C. Williams football team has worked hard all year to be near-perfect. They have come down to the championship game against the …

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Beyond Their Power

"For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift... but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God." -2 Corinthians 8:3What an inspiring story. The poverty-stricken saints throughout Macedonia were giving beyond what they were able to give and even beggin the apostles to receive their offering so that they could minister to the saints in …

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Whom To Correct

"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you."-Proverbs 9:7-8Andy Stanley has written a book called The Best Question Ever. I hope you'll buy it, and don't mean to ruin the surprise, but the great question he raises for any given situation is "what is wise?" It's often neglected. We hear the admonishment of Jesus to be "harmless as doves" …

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Our Tough & Tender God

"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him,... To me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." -Deuteronomy 32:11-12, 35Isn't it amazing that God can be both the mother eagle, caring for her young, and also the awesome God who takes …

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Revive Us Again

"Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight." -Hosea 6:1-2 (NKJV)Sometimes reading the Old Testament prophets is like reading the history of America: a once great people, having enjoyed the blessing of God, now taking their Creator for granted and living in idolatry and religious pretense, judged, …

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